September 26, 2012

Books Worth Reading

This past summer I have had quite a bit of time on my hands, so I have been able to read quite a few books that have been on my reading list for a while. I figured I would give some recommendations as well as a short review of each book.

The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks
Review: This book was, in my opinion, better than the movie. I loved the more detail that the book had and felt like I connected more to the characters. In fact, I got so attached that the last 50 or so pages I was balling my eyes out. So much so that Gavin was seriously concerned if I was ok.

Recommendation: If you are looking for a well written chick book, then I would recommend this one. I like it though because the book isn't just about the romance, but also about the relationship between the father and daughter. I read this in 2 or 3 days so it is a fairly quick read as well. Great for a nice summer read at the beach!

The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Review: SO ADDICTING!!! I think I read through the entire series in about a week! Once you get past the gore that is the essence of the book there are so many other layers and deeper ideas that Suzanne Collins dives into. I was late jumping on the bandwagon for this series, but I am so glad that I held out and waited to watch the movie until after I had read at least the first book!

Recommendation: Do yourself a favor and go check the first book out from your local library or buy it at the local bookstore or even download it to your smartphone or tablet. I am not normally a sci-fi or futuristic novel type of person, but these books were appealing even beyond that genre.

Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares 
 Review: This is a flash forward from the last book in the sisterhood series. I loved the first four books and being able to go back and revisit the girls felt like catching up with old friends. There were ups and downs that I felt like I went through with them throughout the whole book. I laughed and cried the whole time of reading it. Also I feel like I finally have closure from this series. Of course I would always pick up another sisterhood book if Ann decided to write another one.

Recommendation: For anyone that loved the original books I would highly recommend this book! If you haven't read the previous Sisterhood books, I would also recommend reading those four books as well.

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
Review: I have read other books by Francine Rivers and had been told by multiple people that this was her best; therefore, I had a slight fear that it would not live up to my expectations. However, it was even better than I expected and kept me enthralled the entire time needing to know what was going to happen next. The book is based upon the book of Hosea in the bible and even though I knew what would happen because it follows the plot line of the biblical book I was still turning the pages as quickly as I could. The adaptation was beautifully done and followed the historical book while still bringing something new to to table as an adaptation should.

Recommendation: Christian or non-Christian I would recommend this book to any woman who was looking for an enthralling novel to read. However, be warned: even though it is quite a long book it probably won't take you that long to finish! There is a reason there have been over 1 million copies of this book sold!!

I thoroughly enjoyed all of my summer reads and am looking forward to a Fall filled with snuggling up with a blanket and tea to read a good book! Here are some of the books that are on my reading list:


There are other books that are on my list, but I think these will be a great place to start! Now to take a trip to my local library! Did any of you read a great book this summer? If so, I want to hear about it! I love getting recommendations for new books!

September 25, 2012

Fall in a Cookie

Even though fall is technically upon us as of Saturday it does not feel like it where we are living. It is forecasted to be in the 90s all week! So, I decided to bring some fall into our lives in the form of cookies. Who remembers these carmel apple pops from childhood?!

Well, these cookies taste just like them!! Basically, like fall in a cookie!

The recipe was originally from The Cooking Photographer, but I have seen it on a a few other blogs and I found the recipe on Pinterest. (You can follow my boards here)


1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 box (10 packets) Alpine Spiced Apple Cider Instant Original Drink Mix (not sugar free)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups all purpose flour
1 bag (around 14 ounces) soft caramels


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line rimless cookie sheets with parchment paper. It has to be parchment this time, otherwise the carmel will stick to the cookie sheet and it will be a pain to clean!

2. In a stand mixer, cream together butter, sugar, salt, and all 10 packets* of apple cider mix until smooth and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla extract, then mix in the baking soda and baking powder. Add the flour and mix until just combined.

3. With a medium cookie scoop, scoop the dough scrapping off the excess as you go up the bowl. Flatten the dough slightly in your hand and place a caramel in the center. If your caramels are the rectangular kind rather than the squares mold the caramels into more of a round/square shape.  Work the dough around the caramel sealing well. Place the cookies two inches apart on the sheets.

4. Bake 13 to 16 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. After baking, carefully slide the parchment with the cookies onto the counter. Let cool until they are no longer soft but still slightly warm. Twist gently to remove, and cool the rest of the way upside down on the parchment or on a cooling rack.

*I used all 10 packets of apple cider and the full cup of sugar and it was a little sweet for me. Next time I would maybe cut back the sugar or the number of cider packets.

When you eat these cookies it is basically a requirement that you heat them up in some way to get the caramel all gooey and yummy inside. Either set them over a cup of hot tea or microwave them for around 10 seconds for one cookie. SO GOOD!

In conclusion, I would recommend going to the grocery store ASAP to pick up apple cider mix and caramels to make these and enjoy the taste of fall in a cookie.

September 20, 2012

Let's start at the very beginning

A very good place to start! Gotta love Sound of Music! I guess I will start with a little about my husband Gavin and my relationship, since this is a blog about our lives as newlyweds.

Well, we met during our freshman year of college at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. I met his identical twin at an ice cream social the first night in the dorms and eventually met Gavin by the second week of school. We were just friends at first and I even remember sitting in my dorm room telling one of my girlfriends how they were going to be like my brothers by the time we graduate. (Ha! Well I was half right!) Fall quarter flew by and we became good friends hanging out frequently and going line dancing every week. We came back from winter break and something had changed between the two of us and we started dating in March of 2009.

We did a summer of long distance and then at the beginning of our sophomore year I decided I needed to change my major, which would eventually result in transferring schools. We enjoyed our time living close to each other in the same apartment complex and then in June of 2010 I moved closer to home to Eugene, Oregon to finish school at University of Oregon. We did a year long distance while I finished my degree in sociology. We ended up being able to see each other once every month or two, but it was still a time where we learned a ton about communication and our relationship grew in leaps and bounds.

I graduated in June 2011 and then moved back down to San Luis Obispo to get a job and be closer to Gavin while he finished his senior year as a business administration major with an accounting concentration. Gavin proposed in August and wedding planning commenced! While I was serving a term as an AmeriCorps member and busy planning our wedding Gavin was working two part time jobs, leading a bible study and going to school. Whew! What a busy 10 months that was for both of us!

We had the wedding of my our dreams in June and have been figuring out this whole thing called marriage since! I think that will do as a good beginning for this little blog. And with that, a few of my favorite pictures from the wedding!

Thats all for now, until next time!